Everyone gets ill at uni, and I don’t just mean freshers flu. Surviving a cold or flu can be hard when your family isn’t around to wait on you hand and foot or be appropriately sympathetic. Here are all the things that make me feel better when I’m ill in term time (including as I write this article).
Skip your lectures
You’ll probably roll your eyes at this, because you weren’t planning to go anyway. I’ve heard way too many people cough and sniff there way through lectures, and then I end up being ill myself days later. It’s not fun. You’re also not going to learn anything if you’ve got a headache and a temperature. Keep yourself tucked into bed with Netflix and spend a day or two napping.
Avoid orange juice! As good as vitamin C is, the acidity of orange juice will burn your throat. Stick to Lemsip (read the instructions), decaf or herbal tea or water. I love herbal teas sweetened with honey. I always find that I have to breathe through my mouth when I’m ill which makes me super dehydrated, especially in winter. Hot drinks are best to soothe a sore throat and woolly head.
Email your lecturers
Let your lecturers know that you’re ill, and ask what you can do to catch up once you’re better. Don’t force yourself to do work before you’re better, no matter how stressed you might be. Try to get extensions on deadlines. If you can, only work on assignments or exams that can’t be moved. Your lecturers will be way more understanding if you are upfront, rather than just not showing up to things.
Boost your immune system
Try taking multivitamins with vitamin C and zinc, but be sure to speak to your doctor before taking new supplements, especially if you have pre-existing conditions or are on medication. As sad as it might be, avoid alcohol when you’re ill as it will dehydrate you. Up your fruit and veg (and maybe take some of my advice on eating well on a student budget). Both elderberries and Echinacea have been long said to help recovery from a cold, but again, speak to your doctor first (I have zero medical knowledge beyond the internet and what works for me).
I also try to disinfect things like my phone, laptop keyboard and door handles to kill the germs I’m trying to fight off. You also might want to change bed sheets more often, especially if you have a high temperature.
Stay home as much as possible
Ask a sympathetic flatmate to pick up medicines and snacks. My go to’s are ibuprofen for aches and a temperature, Lemsip for congestion and sore throats, and strepsils (but only when they’re on offer). If you’re feeling sick then plain crisps or crackers are great to keep your strength up. If you do have to go out for supplies, wrap up warm and cover your mouth with a scarf or your jumper to keep your throat protected from the cold. Warm showers and baths are my favourite way to keep my chest feeling warm and soothed. Being ill is a great excuse to break out some bubble bath.